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Announcing the Latest Recipients of the New Executives Fund Award

NEW YORK—We are pleased to announce the newly selected grantees of the New Executives Fund, which provides support to executive directors and chief executive officers who show promise to grow as leaders in fields that are central to Open Society’s mission. New Executives Fund recipients receive grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 in discretionary support to assist in the implementation of their visions for their organizations.

2015 Recipients

Taifa Smith Butler, Georgia Budget and Policy Institute (GBPI)

GBPI offers progressive policy solutions to improve education, health care, and economic opportunity in Georgia. Taifa Butler brings more than 20 years of experience in strategic communications, public policy research, and data analysis in the public, nonprofit, and private sectors to GBPI. She previously served as the policy and communications director for Georgia Family Connection Partnership, where she co-managed the Georgia KIDS COUNT project and monitored public policy and its impact on children, families, and communities. 

Gillian Caldwell, Global Witness

Global Witness combines research and analysis as a basis for successful campaigns to expose corruption in the natural resource sector, call for legislation enforcement, and increase company transparency and accountability. Gillian Caldwell is a social entrepreneur, filmmaker, and an attorney with over 35 years of experience in the social justice field. Prior to joining Global Witness, she served as president of Gillian Caldwell Consulting; the producer and engagement manager for Citizen Koch, a feature length documentary on the corrosive force of money in politics; the director of 1Sky; and executive director of WITNESS for a decade. 

Andre Contrucci, Convivência É de Lei

É de Lei is the first drop-in community center for drug users in Brazil. Based in downtown São Paulo, É de Lei leads harm reduction efforts for people who use drugs in vulnerable situations. The organization holds cultural activities, gives workshops about drug use and harm reduction, and advocates for drug policies and human rights. Andre Contrucci brings extensive experience in the field of social psychology at community centers, homeless shelters, and psychosocial attention centers for drug users. Prior to his role as executive director, he worked as a harm reduction agent and as the management coordinator for É de Lei.

Sevan Doraisamy, Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)

SUARAM is a national human rights organization working on documenting and monitoring civil and political issues and laws in Malaysia. Sevan Doraisamy brings 15 years of experience in defending and promoting human rights in Malaysia to SUARAM. He is an active contributor to various national coalitions of NGOs, and he also represents Malaysian human rights NGOs in networks at the regional and international levels. Prior to joining SUARAM, he was a founder of, and worked as an independent radio journalist. He also served as the program director for the Centre for Independent Journalism, and worked to promote free and fair elections with Pusat KOMAS. 

Dr. Arun Gadre, Anusandhan Trust (SATHI)

Support for Advocacy and Training to Health Initiatives (SATHI) is an action center of Anusandhan Trust, focusing on health care rights, public health sector accountability, and private medical sector regulation. SATHI has emerged as a national institution for training, capacity building, advocacy, and action research on a wide range of health care rights issues. Dr. Arun Gadre started his career as a private gynecologist and ran a small hospital in a drought affected rural area of Maharashtra for 20 years. He later worked on HIV reduction at the state level at Path Finder International, until becoming the Coordinator of SATHI. He is actively involved in building a national network of doctors for decommercialized, ethical, and rational universal health care in India.

Guy Régis Junior, Association Quatre Chemins 

Association Quatre Chemins uses theatre and arts and culture programming as a powerful mode of expression on political and social issues in Haiti. The association organizes an annual festival of the arts to connect artists with civil society actors, and to renew the Haitian arts sector. Guy Régis Junior is a Haitian writer, theatre director, and filmmaker. He is the founder of the Haitian troupe Nous Theatre, which has performed in theatres, universities, and public squares in Haiti and internationally. Nous Theatre participated in the association’s first festival in 2003, and he continued to collaborate with the festival over the years until becoming the executive director of the Association. 

Catherine Naughton, European Disability Forum (EDF)

EDF is a unique platform that brings together representative organizations of persons with disabilities from across Europe to promote the rights of persons with disabilities in Europe. Catherine Naughton brings 20 years of experience in the field of disability rights, with a particular focus on the rights of persons with disabilities in low- and middle-income countries. She has worked at the EU and international levels in promoting the inclusion of persons with disabilities in mainstream development and humanitarian programs, including in her past role as chair of the International Disability and Development Consortium. 

Christophe Nijdam, Finance Watch

Finance Watch was created as the first and only European civil society organization to fill a void of public interest expertise in the financial system, and to serve as a counterweight to the private interests of the financial lobby. Christophe Nijdam has more than a dozen years of experience as a senior executive at a number of large French banks in France and in the United States. In the early 1990s, he crossed to the investor side as a financial analyst, most recently working as a banking sector analyst for AlphaValue, a leading independent pan-European equity research firm. He brings a strategic understanding of the banking sector and an investor’s perspective bank management to Finance Watch.

Katrina Pacey, Pivot Legal Society

Pivot Legal Society is a Canadian human rights organization that uses the law to fight legislation, policies, and practices that undermine human rights, intensify poverty, and drive people to the margins of society. Pivot is currently working on four main social justice issues: housing and homelessness, police accountability, drug policy reform, and sex workers’ rights. Prior to her appointment, Katrina Pacey guided the organization’s litigation and campaign strategy, where she was the the lead counsel on Pivot’s campaign to advance sex workers’ rights in Canada. She has appeared before all levels of court on constitutional and public interest matters and has worked on a range of high profile cases, including as counsel for sex workers who initiated a constitutional challenge to criminal laws prohibiting various aspects of adult prostitution. 

Anne Pasternak, The Brooklyn Museum

The Brooklyn Museum is an encyclopedic museum containing more than a quarter of a million art works, with the aim of taking on social issues, creating inclusive public conversations, and building a space for civic discourse. For the previous two decades, Anne Pasternak was president and artistic director at Creative Time. Important projects there included Tribute in Light, the twin beacons of light that illuminated the sky above the former World Trade Center site after 9/11 and beyond; Kara Walker’s A Subtlety in the former Domino Sugar warehouse in Williamsburg; and the recent joint project Funk, God, Jazz, & Medicine: Black Radical Brooklyn at the Weeksville Heritage Center and its surrounding neighborhood in Brooklyn. She also launched the Creative Time Summit, the largest art and social justice conference in the world.

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